No cold is too cold when your catching fish like this!
Its been mighty cold as of late, but for those who venture out in the blustery winds and freezing temps can be greatly rewarded with some great Steelhead fishing! With the Salmon River flows being quite low (for the most part) this winter, Smaller flies and lighter tippets have been key for any Fly Angler, in having a truly successful day on the water. I will start fishing with 6lb fluorocarbon and if the action is slow I will bump down to 4lb making these beasts tough to land.
Heres a nice little addition to your fly patterns. This fly is “money” on the Farmington and a solid tie for the box of any fly angler. This fly is designed to be very heavy and drift along the bottom, “rolling” in between rocks and boulders where trout lie waiting for food to pass by. That being said you should fish this fly in swift rocky runs and the current seams directly behind them where this insect flourishes. You can fish this with a Czech, Polish, Euro, or any other style of fly fishing nymphs, the key being the weight that keeps this bugger down in the strike zone.
Water Flow: 2070 Farmington/Still combined
Water Temp: 42 degrees am.
Water Condition: High Flow
Access Point: Church Pool
Hatches (in order of importance): Adult Caddis 18-20, Stoneflies 16-20.
Comments: The trout in the back end of Church Pool sipped small adult caddis this morning, while I as an observer met two nice Gents who were catching trout. It was a blast talking with them and watching them take the “Ignore It” approach to the high water. This seems to be the approach that I most often employ.
The trout were rising along the edge or seam where the turbulent meets the slack water. There were trout rising in this slower water all morning as they gently picked off the adult Caddis. This was encouraging to watch but do not be fooled, with exception to a few slow pockets most of the river is un-navigable, and only fishable along the banks. Many trout have been seen and caught along the very edges of the river, fishing the water directly in front of you first is a good rule of thumb.
3-29-10 The chilly conditions this weekend held the water temperature at 39 degrees. The flows to the Farmington River continued to run high this as the feeder streams continued to drain their spring runoff, and water from the dam continued to gush, narrowing any anglers preferred method to nymphing and fishing streamers. I had some success fishing tight to the banks with a Czech nymphing rig. I hooked what I thought to be an average brown on a #16 Golden Stonefly drifter near the bank in front of me. I fumbled to shed the gloves from my hands and free my camera as the fish ripped into my running line almost tearing the rod from my hand. When I gained control of the situation and realized this was no average fish, I quickly put the backbone of my 20+ yr old LLBean 5/6 to work. This rod coupled with 5x and chilly river temps made quick work of this trout and made for a great chance for me to admire and greatly appreciate the size and girth of this nice fish. Others that I came in contact with had some success also on big streamers. I continued to pull good numbers of size 16 Golden Stoneflies in my stream samples, along with tons of size 18-20 mayfly nymphs. Caddis larvae in all kinds of sizes still definitely have the largest presence on the stream bottom. Don’t let the high water this time of year get you down, get out there and give it a whirl along the edges fishing with some small nymphs or streamers.
High water piles up debris on the banks of Churchpool
3-24-10 The Farmington River continues to flow at obnoxious levels, however it is dropping. I checked the river this morning to find that most banks and every small island is still deeply submerged beneath the swift current. The small rivers, streams, and brooks that wash into the Farmington are receding and the flows should return to normal by this weekend. The water temperature has risen in the past few days to 40 degrees.
As the water level falls and fish return to their normal lies the nymphing and streamer fishing will pick up. Some good nymph choices are Golden Stonefly nymphs in sizes 12-16, Mayfly nymphs such as Hares Ear, and Pheasant Tails in sizes 14-20 to imitate the mayfly nymphs that are present on the stream bottom in the largest numbers.
For streamers you can’t beat the Wooly Bugger this time of year while it resembles all sorts of large food organisms that trout depend on as their activity increases with the rising water temps. Dead drifted along the bottom this fly imitates stonefly nymphs, and can be quartered downstream and fished across the current making it look like a baitfish.
The best action on top will be stirred with Caddis pupa and Caddis dry flies in sizes 20-24, or Small Stonefly dries in sizes 14-18, there have been good numbers of the larger Stones active on the river. Whatever you choose to do, do it safely, and take precaution! Do not venture far from the bank in this high water, one false move and rescue units could be pulling you from the river.
Lots of sitting around with H2o levels up "In the Woods"
Some standing around too! JW trying to nymph along the edges.